In the heart of the city of Negombo, in Sri Lanka’s Western Province, the Angurukaramulla Temple is known for the dragon-head that guards its entrance and its six-metre-tall statue of Lord Buddha. To enter, visitors walk through the maw of the dragon, who is said to ward evil spirits away from the temple and its devotees. The dragon lies in the shadow of Lord Buddha’s large statue, watching a serene pool of water in front of it. Visitors to the temple should take care to dress respectfully, covering their arms and shoulders.
The temple is home to the ruins of a historic, moss-covered library, and beautiful paintings, sculptures and murals that date back centuries. The paintings on the ceiling display Lord Buddha’s journey to enlightenment, as well as the legends of the country’s former rulers from the Mahavamsa.
Within the grounds, visitors can walk into large peaceful spaces surrounded by trees and nature, and can enjoy the temple’s pond that is filled with turtles. A large white stupa lies adjacent to the temple. At the base of its staircase, guests are greeted by the statues of two bronze lions that are elevated onto pedestals and add an air of nobility to the place. Within the stupa, there are a number of beautiful paintings and sculptures, as well as carved walls and window decorations. The ruins of an ancient library also stand on the temple grounds, the building covered in moss and stone-carvings.